Photos and audio by Diana Soliwon
The man behind Breading’s Shoes at 1310 Walnut St. says he’s in a business he loves.
Russ Breading, a lifelong resident of Murphysboro, has a way of proving it to you: He saves a customer card for every patron he’s had in the nearly 60 years he’s been selling shoes. Name, size and width, cost, phone number and address – Breading carefully keeps the information cataloged until the next time the customer comes in.
Breading said he feels lucky to be successful in the retail business and to have the chance to consistently talk with people of the community. He said it’s the interaction with people that he’s enjoyed the most since he started in 1950, when he first helped at a local shoe store during high school.
Shortly after, Breading joined the Navy. He stuck with it for three years before he returned to his hometown.
“I came back from the service, and they said, ‘You want to come back to work?’ Well yeah, I’ll go to work ’til I find something better, I said. I enjoyed it and never found anything better.”